The 2018 Jaguar XF premium midsize sedan retains and projects its own personality in a crowded and spoiled-for-choice class. It looks distinctive enough, with the kind of visual impact a high-dollar car should have. And its suspension has a controlled-yet-comfortable way about it that no rival can really emulate. The XF is smooth and quiet enough for long trips, yet also kind of fun for quick errands.
And then there are the things it has in common with the rest of the class — such as passenger space and road presence, but the car is not so big as to be unwieldy when the corners come up. It also offers the kind of technology now expected and demanded from premium brands.
What’s New for 2018?
The biggest development is the addition of the XF Sportbrake, a wagon variant. A new Portfolio trim has also been added, which means various features have been reshuffled. The range now starts off with a new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine. A more powerful version of this engine is also available, effectively replacing the least-powerful supercharged V6 option. See the 2018 Jaguar XF models for sale near you
What We Like
Handsome styling; excellent interior; comfortable seats; fine handling; great technology
What We Don’t
Design not drastically different from the previous generation; rearview camera should be standard throughout the range; advanced safety aids only available in higher trims
At the entry level is a new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine turbocharged to produce 247 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque.
This applies to versions with the 25t badge. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a rear-drive version returns 25 miles per gallon in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg in combined driving. When the optional all-wheel-drive system is in the picture, fuel consumption is 23 mpg city/33 mpg hwy/27 mpg combined.
The more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine (30t) develops 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. With all-wheel drive, it achieves 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined. Neither Jaguar nor the EPA had any consumption figures with the rear-drive setup at the time of writing this review.
Topping the range is a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 gasoline engine in the S (35t), generating 380 hp and 339 lb-ft of torque (although Jaguar says it produces 332 lb-ft in the Sportbrake S). Rear-drive versions are estimated to achieve 20 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined. The optional all-wheel-drive system cuts highway mileage to 28 mpg.
The diesel engine (indicated by a 20d badge) is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder unit making 180 hp and a useful 318 lb-ft of torque. With rear-wheel drive, EPA estimates are 31 mpg city/42 mpg hwy/35 mpg combined. All-wheel drive adjusts those numbers to 30 mpg city/40 mpg hwy/34 mpg combined.
Every XF has an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Standard Features & Options
The 2018 Jaguar XF comes in base, Premium, Prestige, R-Sport, Portfolio and S trim levels.
The base XF ($48,770) starts out with the 25t gasoline engine (25t), along with xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and tail lights, rain-sensing wipers, heated side mirrors, an 8-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, an 11-speaker Meridian sound system, dual-zone automatic climate control, dual power front seats, leatherette upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power sunroof, a self-dimming rearview mirror, 18-in alloy wheels and a USB port.
The Premium ($50,760) adds a power-adjustable steering wheel, a rearview camera, memory settings for the driver’s-side functions (seat, mirrors and steering wheel), self-dimming side mirrors and a split/fold rear seat (40/20/40).
The Prestige ($55,220) brings 19-in alloy wheels, keyless access with a push-button starter, heated front seats and steering wheel, full leather upholstery, front and rear parking sensors and a navigation system with voice control and app integration.
The R-Sport ($59,120) has adaptive xenon headlights, special-design 19-in alloy wheels, sport seats and styling upgrades, satellite radio and an array of high-tech safety features including automatic high beams, lane-keeping assistance, blind spot monitoring, forward-collision warning with automatic braking, and rear cross-traffic alert.
The Portfolio ($68,420) starts out with the more powerful 4-cylinder gasoline engine, enjoys an equipment list similar to the R-Sport, but takes things in a more luxurious direction by adding a "suede cloth" headline, ebony veneers, 18-way power-adjustable heated/ventilated front seats, configurable ambient cabin lighting, an 825-watt Meridian surround sound system, a head-up display, navigation, satellite radio and a 10.3-in infotainment display.
The XF S sedan ($64,860) enjoys the 380-hp V6 exclusively, 20-in wheels, sportier interior and exterior styling cues, adaptive suspension and memory settings for the front passenger seat.
The XF Sportbrake S wagon ($71,445) comes solely in S trim and with all-wheel drive as standard, but also includes some model-specific items like a gesture-controlled powered tailgate, a full-length fixed panoramic sunroof with a powered sunshade and a self-leveling air suspension at the rear.
Some standard features in higher trim levels are available in lower trims. Other options include a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, cooled front seats, a larger touchscreen, head-up display, Wi-Fi, a 17-speaker sound system, quad-zone automatic climate control, a power-operated trunk lid, a power rear sunshade and a driver-assistance package that features self-parking, a 360-degree camera system and adaptive cruise control.
The sedan’s trunk space is 19.1 cu ft., great for the class. The Sportbrake has 31.7 cu ft. behind the rear seats, and 69.7 cu ft. when they’re folded down.
Standard items include side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes and traction control. As mentioned earlier, a rearview camera would have been nice in the base model (if anyone actually buys a basic premium car), and the advanced safety features only become available at higher trim levels.
The options list includes many advanced driver aids, including rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams, LED headlights, automated parallel parking system, lane-keeping assistance and a 360-degree camera system.
The XF has not been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Behind the Wheel
As good as the XF looks from the outside, slipping into the driver’s seat produces another pleasure — luxury. Supremely comfortable seats with visible stitching on the leather edges offer support and power adjustment. As befits a performance car, the seating position is low and precisely aligned with the controls. Thanks to a wheelbase longer than the first generation, rear passengers benefit from ample legroom, yet the coupelike profile doesn’t encroach on headroom, even for tall adults.
The diesel engine’s low-end push is enjoyable, with maximum torque kicking in at just 1,750 rpm, but it tends to run out of strength at higher speeds. If there’s a definable Jaguar character of seemingly effortless power and smoothness, then this diesel doesn’t quite fit the mold.
One welcome aspect is the subtle intervention of the driver-assistance technologies. Whereas German systems tend to be forceful, Jaguar’s approach is to give more of a helping hand and not assume the driver is a fool.
The suspension is a joy — supple, flowing and precise. Combined with well-tuned electric power-assisted steering, the XF has the responses of a much smaller and lighter car.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 Audi A6 — The A6 and the A7 both offer optional all-wheel drive, a comfortable ride and handsome designs inside and out. But a new generation is imminent.
2018 BMW 5 Series — A new generation debuted for 2017. The 5 Series is traditionally at or near the top of this class, and this fresh version is a serious contender.
2018 Cadillac CTS — Anyone checking out a Jaguar is no doubt looking beyond Germany for their next car and their time would not be wasted by test driving a CTS.
2018 Lexus GS — Surprisingly fun for a Lexus, yet stays true to the usual qualities of excellent build and generous standard equipment.
2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class — Plenty of new technology on board, including semi-autonomous driving assistance. Plus the usual E-Class attributes of style, space and sophistication.
Used Mercedes-Benz S-Class — The S-Class is far more than a luxury car; it’s a statement. For new XF money, a version from the generation before this current model is totally affordable.
A Prestige model with the bigger 4-cylinder engine and some options (safety features in particular) imparts some of that authoritative Jaguar character without busting the budget.